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  • When I moved to Italy in 1986, I resided in Rome and took frequent trips to the countryside nearby. In my first years here, I also traveled to Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, Campania and Sicily so I saw quite a bit of the Italian countryside. I was living the dream of centuries; ‘The Grand Tour’ albeit restricted to Italy.

    In my past, I had lived a short period of time in Oregon as a mountaineer. Truly, I had been in remarkable places that had led me to believe that only I had ever stepped foot on that particular piece of Earth. The views that I remember excluded any evidence of human intervention: no buildings, electric lines, roads, litter; nothing that could mark the presence of another human being.

    The astonishing thing about Italy was that everywhere I went, even in the most remote places of Tuscany or the low mountains in southern Liguria, I was constantly reminded of human intervention. Either the path that I was travelling on, or some object in the distance testified the fact that some other human being had been there before me. This may not be a surprise to some as we are considering Europe, which has a millenarian history.

    But the more I looked at the landscape surrounding me in Italy, the more I become aware of another kind of beauty; the way that man had modeled, shaped, constructed and sculpted the land. Terraced vineyards on a sloping hill, subtly coloured country houses tucked in a cove of small trees or hidden behind tall cypresses, roads that meandered through the green hills flanked by tall Mediterranean pines. Even the gardens, buildings and palaces in the cities amazed me for their man-made beauty.

    I painted as much as I could outdoors. And I still do. I have learned that nature does not have to be the ABSENCE of man but can also be the gentle fusion of whatever nature one finds before him and how he leaves it after.
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